The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls was founded in 1922, by William Mark Sexson, a 33° Mason in McAlester, Oklahoma. Rev. Sexson, a Christian minister and active member of the Masonic Lodge, was asked to make an address before South McAlester Chapter #149, Order of the Eastern Star, in McAlester, Oklahoma. As the Order of DeMolay had come under his close study and observation during his Masonic activities, he decided that another organization for girls, setting forth some of the principles of Freemasonry, would be welcomed if it did not have to have a Masonic parent or grandparent as a requirement, as the Job's Daughters did. Today, membership is open to any girl regardless of Masonic affiliation.
The first class of girls that was initiated into the Order consisted of a class of 171 girls, on April 6, 1922, in the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple in McAlester.
William Mark Sexson was born at Arnica Springs, Missouri, July 8, 1877. He was the son of Thomas and Hanna Sexson who came from Illinois as pioneers in the early settlement of southwest Missouri, located upon a farm in the valley of Sac River, Cedar County, Missouri, near the village of Arnica springs.
At twelve years of age he joined the church, and at fourteen began his ministry. At seventeen he was ordained a minister of the Christian (Disciples) Church by Elder John H. Breeze. He married Miss Edith Edwards of Windsor, Illinois, and as a young married couple they went to Bloomfield, Indiana, where he became pastor of the First Christian Church. After serving for two years as minister of this church, he moved to Indianapolis where he entered Butler College in further preparation of his ministry. He served as Evangelist in the Christian Church conducting revival meetings in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and a number of western states. He came to Cleveland, Oklahoma, in 1906 as minister of the Christian Church at that place. He afterwards served the church at Cherokee and Stroud, Oklahoma.
He was initiated, passed, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Bloomfield Lodge No. 80. at Bloomfield, Indiana, in 1902 during the time that he was minister of the First Christian Church of that city. He immediately became identified with the craft as a lecturer and contributor of fraternal literature. He spent practically all of his life in this field of research work and as a result of such research has been honored by the Fraternity on many occasions. He was made Master of the Royal Secret 32 degree in Oklahoma Consistory No. 1, at Guthrie, May 30, 1907.
In 1909, he went abroad spending some time in the near European Countries and then journeying to Assyria, Palestine, and Egypt in search of Masonic information and further preparation for his work as a contributor to Masonic literature.
In 1912 he came to McAlester as Secretary of the McAlester Scottish Rite Bodies, serving them as such until January 1, 1922. In 1913 while Secretary of the McAlester Scottish Rite Bodies, he was made a thirty-third degree Mason and coroneted as Inspector General Honorary by the Supreme Council at Washington. He was a Royal Arch Mason, a member of Indian Chapter No. 1, North McAlester; also, a Knight Templar, a member of McAlester Commandery No. 6; a Noble of the Mystic Shrine holding active membership in Indian Temple at Oklahoma City, and honorary membership in Bedouin Temple at Muskogee, and Akdar Temple at Tulsa. He was a member of Amrita Grotto of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was Past Grand Patron, O.E.S., of Oklahoma.
He was Past Master of South McAlester Lodge No. 96 (1921) and served the Grand Lodge as Grand Chaplain in 1920 and 1921 and as Grand Orator in 1923 and 1924. At the meeting of Grand Lodge in Tulsa, 1925, he was elected Junior Grand Warden, in 1926 was elected Senior Grand Warden, and in 1927 was elected Deputy Grand Master. On February 15, 1928, he was elected to the highest office and given the highest rank attainable in Freemasonry, that of Most Worshipful Grand Master of a sovereign Masonic Grand Jurisdiction.
Rev. Sexson was initiated in South McAlester Chapter No. 149, Order of the Eastern Star, September 13, 1921; installed Worthy Patron, January 9, 1923; made a life member of South McAlester Chapter No. 149, in 1931; was elected Worthy Grand Patron of the O.E.S. Grand Chapter of Oklahoma in 1925-1926; served on the Ritual Committee of the General Grand Chapter, O.E.S., 1928 to 1931. In April, 1937, he was initiated in the White Shrine of Jerusalem at Muskogee, Oklahoma.
||One evening in the spring of 1922, Rev. Sexson had been asked to make an address before South McAlester Chapter No. 149. As the DeMolay had come under his close study and observation during his Masonic activities, he became more and more conscious of the fact that an Order for girls setting forth some if the truths of Masonry would be necessary. He made a stirring appeal for such an organization in his address and the Worthy Matron, Mrs. Sarah Church, immediately replied, "We would start it if we had someone to write the ceremony of Initiation." Rev. Sexson said, " I will write the Ritual." The next day, he wrote the Ritual, giving it the name "Order of the Rainbow for Girls." He dictated it to the Church stenographer, Mrs. Helen Ambrose, in the study of the First Christian Church of which he was then a minister. He asked the regular officers of South McAlester Chapter No. 149, O.E.S., to exemplify the work and furnished them with typewritten copies of the Ritual.|
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|The first degrees were exemplified on a class of 171 girls on April 6, 1922 by the regular officers of South McAlester Chapter #149, Order of the Eastern Star, in the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Temple in McAlester, Oklahoma.|
The Supreme governing body was formed by Mr. Sexson in June, 1922. He wrote the law governing the Supreme Body was well as the law governing the Subordinate Assemblies. At the formation of this Supreme Body, Rev. Sexson was made the Supreme Recorder and later was given the title, Supreme Worthy Advisor Emeritus.
On December 20, 1953, Rev. Sexson died in a McAlester hospital, following a short illness. The funeral service was held at the First Christian Church where he served as minister for many years and where the Ritual of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls was written. Burial was in the Masonic Section of Oak Hill Cemetery in McAlester, Oklahoma.